The Rod Wave: Austin Wells is the Yankees’ most underrated prospect 

0
398

When discussing topics like the Yankees farm system and its list of prospects, plenty of names can come to mind. One of the first names could be Anthony Volpe, the young and promising shortstop who is tasked to bring a sense of stability and promise. You could talk about Oswald Peraza or Roderick Arias: two quality infielders that show potential. Yet, of all these names, there’s one name that I haven’t decided to write about before and who I think deserves a lot more noise from Yankees fans: Austin Wells. 

Yes, the Yankees have a promising catcher right now with Jose Trevino who’s also coming off of a Gold Glove year at catcher. He’s a terrific defensive catcher for this team, but imagine a guy who can come in at catcher and provide a real spark with his bat. As a bonus, he has a mustache great enough to replace former Yankees outfielder Matt Carpenter. 

In comes Wells. In 2022, Wells hit .277 between stints at single-A, high-A, and AA ball. To top it all off, Wells was incredible at the plate in high A where he hit .323 with a 1.005 OPS and 6 home runs. Offensively, he’s everything you want out of a Yankees catcher. 

A quick look at some film of Wells shows how solid of an offensive-minded catcher he is. He has great pitch recognition while controlling the strike zone for the pitches he wants to hit. That leads to plenty of walks for him and a hard out for pitchers who face him. It’s one of the biggest things that drew the Yankees to draft Wells with the 28th pick in the MLB draft. He can hit all areas of the field and has great contact with the ball as shown by a .388 BABIP in high A ball and .301 BABIP in AA ball. 

You can’t forget about his above-average speed for a catcher either. Wells has 16 stolen bases in each of his last two seasons and it’s an underrated part of his game. 

But, the one thing that really sticks out to me is his power; if he’s called up to the Majors to hit at Yankee Stadium, he can be a big difference-maker at the next level. I believe that Wells has the power for the Bronx and the notable batter-friendly short porch. In two years at the Minor League level, he’s hit 16 and 20 home runs respectively with the potential to get even better as he gains experience. As Wells gets better and stronger, those numbers are sure to rise. If there’s one thing for certain, the skill level is there for him to hit bombs at Yankee Stadium. 

The one thing I really don’t love about Wells is his defense, and professional scouts agree. According to MLB.com, elbow injuries in high school left Wells with arm problems as he embarked on his professional career. That’s sure to cause some issues with a long-term career as catcher; the position gives plenty of injuries. However, that’s where I have a solution. 

As Anthony Rizzo reaches his age-33 season, the Yankees should really think about converting Wells to a first baseman thanks to his weaker arm and his excellent hitting. It would be a tragedy to see such a terrific hitter with enormous potential go to waste, especially when Wells has shown that he’s willing to put in the work to improve. At age 23 and in AA, it would be wise to put that work ethic and skill to the test to see if Wells can step up to the challenge of being a Major League-level player at a position like first base that’s less demanding than catcher. While Wells has voiced how much he loves the challenge of playing the position, it’s at least something to consider. 

With what Wells has shown in his two years of playing in the Yankees farm system, I do not think his name should be overlooked. He’s a player with a lot of skill, and while he may have a lot of work to do before the Yankees think about the idea of bringing him up to the Bronx, he deserves credit for what he’s done. 

Leave a Reply